Seasonal Variation of Larval Fishes in the Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina Area

by Daniel L. Sonnenberg , 1978

A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Honors Program in the Department of Biology. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, North Carolina.


Forty-one species of larval fish in twenty-four families were identified from eighty (80) biweekly, nighttime surface tows made between June 1977 and March 1978 in the Wrightsville Beach area of North Carolina. Eleven (11) species: bay anchovy, striped anchovy, darter goby, naked goby, seaboard goby, Atlantic croaker, Atlantic menhaden, spot, pinfish, southern flounder, and silver perch made up 90% of all larvae collec­ted.  Abundance and length information was plotted graphical­ly to determine peak spawning periods, location of spawning grounds and growth rates for thirteen (13) of the most abundant and/or commercially important species. Abundance appeared to be directly correlated to water temperature only in species that were present in the plankton for a short period of time. No statistically significant difference in salinity was found between the four (4) sampling stations. Lunar phase appeared to have no marked effect on abundance of ichthyoplankton.

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